Sustainable Gift Wrapping Guide

I don’t know about you, but I get a bit anxious about all the waste in packaging and wrapping paper when it comes to gift giving – especially at Christmas.
I have been known to reuse wrapping paper that’s in good condition, but with little children that’s pretty rare these days. I’ve tried the gift bag thing, but people like to peek at their presents, and the bags tend to come unglued at the side so I’m not really a fan of those either – and it just feels lazy!Gift boxes are good, but you either have to store them away for next year, or find a new use for them, and they inevitably get damaged along the way.
So this year I decided to explore some more sustainable gift wrapping options. Here are 4 Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas to help you be a little more eco-conscious this Christmas (and any other gift giving moment that pops up in the years to come!)

1. CHILDREN’S PAINTINGSMy son has really got into painting lately, so now I have a growing stack of paintings and I don’t want to throw away, but can’t keep storing them forever (sorry Mr. B!). So I thought cutting some of them up to wrap smaller gifts would be the perfect way to upcycle the artwork, give a beautifully wrapped gift, and double gift really – they are receiving not just a gift but a piece of artwork too.

2. NEWSPAPERIf you’re an avid reader of the daily or weekend paper, you might have a few newspapers lying around – if you haven’t got a compost bin to throw them into that is! Why not wrap gifts in the newspaper sheets – you can decorate them by drawing on them, using stickers, or write a secret message by highlighting or circling letters or words. This could be a really fun way for children to get involved in the gift wrapping process. I think the best pages by far are the comics and the crosswords, but you can use any page really – just be aware if you use a regular page, to take note of what the article is about, you don’t want to send the wrong message with your gift!

3. FUROSHIKI FABRIC WRAPSomething I’ve seen plenty of and have tried a couple of times (but haven’t mastered yet) is the Furoshiki fabric gift wrap. Furoshiki is a Japanese cloth used for wrapping gifts, or any goods. You could easily use a scarf or any piece of square or rectangular fabric to give this a go. The great thing is – this gift wrap can definitely be used again and again! Be sure to include some instructions on how to use the Furoshiki (unless you are using a scarf!) so the recipient knows how it works too.

4. FABRIC DRAWSTRING BAGSomething a little more involved is making drawstring bags. This might be right up your alley if you’re not a fan of wrapping oddly shaped gifts. Make sure you get the measurements of the gift, and include the width of it too – you don’t want to make the bag up and it ends up too short! What I love about this is you can use the bags again and again for years to come, or if you are gifting the item, the recipient gets a bag they can use year round (depending on your fabric of course) or they can use it to wrap another gift. It’s really wrapping paper that keeps on giving! We have a free pattern available for download on our website if you would like to make your own gift bags. Be sure to pop over to to grab your free copy today!
We hope this list has helped make your Christmas gift giving a little less stressful and a lot greener. Let us know in the comments if you try any of these ideas, or if you have any other eco-friendly gift giving ideas – we’d love to hear them!

Dopamine Dressing

Photo by Padli Pradana on

If you’ve had a rough few days lately (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) then this might just be the answer you’ve been looking for, for a way to pick up your mood and brighten your day; and it could be as easy as changing up what you wear!

What are we talking about? Why dopamine dressing of course!

Dopamine dressing is the idea that wearing bright, fun and colourful clothes will lift your mood and spark more confidence. Could it really be this simple? And is there any evidence behind it?

So what is dopamine? In a nutshell dopamine is a neurotransmitter that signals to the brain whether something is desirable or not and pushes you towards or away from something.

What does that have to do with colours and clothing? Let’s dive into a bit of psychology on the four basic colours.

– Red is said to produce a physical response: it increases our heart rate, can activate our fight of flight response and can make time feel as if it is passing quickly.

– Blue calms our minds. It creates an intellectual response; it can help us to reflect and have more clear thoughts as well as increase our concentration. It is a colour of trustworthiness, logic and communication.

– Yellow is the colour which brings forth an emotional response, as is considered to be the strongest colour psychologically. It is considered a colour of confidence, optimism, creativity and friendliness, and can increase our self esteem and help us to appear more approachable.

– Green brings us balance. It is a colour of harmony, rest and peace. Green is refreshing and helps to reassure us that we are safe and cared for, that there is plenty of all we need and that there is hope in the future, and a steadfast and stable environment around us.

– All other colours are combinations of the basic four ie: Orange is both a physical and emotional colour; it brings physical needs to the forefronts of our minds such as food, warmth and intimacy. It also is considered to be a fun and frivolous colour, bringing out joy and happiness. (1)

Having looked at how colours unconsciously affect us, it is quite probable that what we wear has an impact how we feel, and how other perceive and thus treat us. By choosing colours that increase our pulse, or that make us feel more confident, we are communicating these messages subconsciously to our brain. The dopamine will pick up whether of not this concept is appealing and then push us towards a positive outcome or away from a negative outcome. Essentially, by wearing something that makes us feel confident, we convince our brain that we are.

Another aspect of this is how other people perceive you. If you are dressed in bright and colourful clothing, people will receive your message of fun, confidence and joy and reflect it back to you. Not only are you lifting up your own spirits, but you are being a ray of sunshine in other people’s lives.(2)

Now if you do a google image search for dopamine dressing then you will find plenty of wild and bold colour and pattern inspiration. If you’re thinking “um no thanks, I don’t want to wear bright yellow shoes with leopard print pants and a fluoro jumper over a polkadot blouse!” or maybe you can’t wear bold and bright colours because of a work uniform. Well then you are not alone!

The real key to dopamine dressing is wearing pieces you love that make you feel good as well as embracing the coding in colours. To start you can add it into your accessories (or your underwear!), but make certain you are enjoying your clothes and feel great in what you wear. There is no point wearing a bright yellow dress if you hate the colour yellow, or avoiding navy blue if you feel best in that colour and think it makes your eyes stand out.

Why not give it a try and let us know what you think! Pull out those bright colours and bold prints and wear what makes your soul sing! We think we might just start looking through our wardrobe and have a go too. (1) (2)

Sustainable Fashion – What Is It Anyway?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

We’ve all heard the term “Sustainable Fashion” being thrown around; on social media, in the news and in brand advertising – but what does that even mean?

If we head to the dictionary sustainability is defined as “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”(1) and Wikipedia tells us that “Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.”(2)

But with fashion being a consumed good, having an after life, and the care and maintenance of it requiring water, electricity and cleaning products as well as producing microfibres, can fashion ever truly be sustainable? This is a question that many are working hard to answer with a confident yes.

There are so many issues and complexities within the industry that need work – from raw materials to garment cutting and production through to packaging, distribution and seasonal drops of new styles; its hard to address all of them together and create something we can define as being genuinely sustainable and environmentally friendly.

For us to get a better understanding of what we can currently define as sustainable we can look to Green Strategy’s definition of “More Sustainable Fashion”: “More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components.”(3)

This means we need to be looking at the whole life cycle of fashion. Some of this responsibility falls on the brand and manufacturer and some on the consumer.

So what does it mean for you as a consumer? How can you tell if something really is sustainable? We recommend looking at the transparency of the supply chain of the brands you are shopping with. Where do they manufacture? What sort of fabrics do they use? How far does the garment travel before it reaches you? Do they pay their staff a live-able wage? Do they do mass production or do they work in small batch production? When you bring your garment home how will it be cared for? hand wash, machine wash, dry clean only? Will it be a piece you can wear for many seasons to come, or will you be donating it next season? These are just some questions we can ask in our search for more sustainable fashion.

As brands we have a massive responsibility to you, our clients. We need to produce our garments in a way that honours people and the planet. We need to be conscious of how our design and fabric choices impact the environment from the beginning of the process until after its lifespan has been worn out. As well as how our business practices including shipping, packaging and marketing are leaving a footprint on the planet.

Now we don’t want to take all the fun out of fashion! After all it is an important part of our self expression, bringing us joy, excitement and often something to look forward to. Personal style is so important, and we definitely aren’t telling people to ditch their love of fine fabrics and glamorous style! You don’t need to be wearing an unwashed hessian sack to be making environmentally friendly fashion choices (in fact we don’t recommend this – hessian is mighty uncomfortable! Don’t ask us how we know!).

There are plenty of amazing designers out there doing great things in the world of sustainable fashion. From upcycling clothing into new life, recycling old fabrics into new ones and reducing waste in the design phase by using creative cutting techniques there is so much positive movement in the way we are approaching the fashion industry with the environment in the forefronts of our mind. The key is to be supporting those designers when and where we can so that the movement can become more far reaching and impact future trend forecasts. What we buy tells manufacturers what we want to see more of. So the question really is what sort of future are your choices leading to?

We here at Raspberries & Soda are playing our part by sourcing pre-loved, reclaimed, vintage and short end fabrics to create designs that are pattern-made and cut with low or no fabric wastage. We take great pride in creating quality garments that will last through the seasons. We also offer mending and alteration services and take bookings for custom designed garments. If you are interested in any of our services, please pop us a message in the contact form on our FAQ page and we will be in touch with you soon.